Bruins stay quiet on first day of free agency


Bruins stay quiet on first day of free agency

WILMINGTON, Mass. As expected, it was a comfortably quiet day first day of free agency for the Boston Bruins.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli officially re-signed two of his own players and locked up a Russian prospect for three years, but also said he wasnt moved to strike out on any of the 40-plus players inked to new deals by virtually every other NHL club.

The Bruins GM doesnt anticipate making any moves today, and said that depth signings will be the likely additions to a Bruins team thats loaded for the regular season at nearly every position.

We delved into a couple of things that never really got going anywhere. Im not going to say any positions specifically up front, but they were forwards, said Chiarelli. I dont anticipate anything happening today based on whats happened to this point.

Ive said this prior to going into today. Im not actively looking for anything. If something can improve our team then well look at it. Whether its the secondary market in free agency or the secondary market in trades, well continue to look at that stuff. But were not actively looking.

While there were some longer free-agent deals signed by players like Brandon Prust and P.A. Parenteau to the Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, respectively, there are still plenty of quality depth forwards on the free agent market. Some of the bigger names like Ray Whitney and Shane Doan wont be an option in Boston, but other potential third-line depth forwards like Jay McClement, Jason Arnott and Daniel Winnik could all be available should the Bruins strike in free agency.

But it appears Chiarelli is ready to move forward with 21-year-old Jordan Caron on the inside track for a starting left wing job with fellow youngsters like Chris Bourque, Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight ready to potentially battle for a spot in training camp. The Bs general manager originally hoped for a Recchi-type veteran to be added to the mix, but that may no longer be in the cards for the Black and Gold.

In past years weve had not too often but weve had one or two players that we actively wanted to add to our team. Wed go after them, and that applied to a guy like Michael Ryder. This year we didnt have a player there that we thought we could get right off the hop.

So that speaks to how I feel about our team. There are a couple of guys that you want to test the waters with, and check in with them. See what they want, see where they are and see what their plans are. Besides that weve had some meetings about some depth guys, but its been relatively quiet.

As the total of open spots dwindle for a large mass of free agents looking for NHL homes, there may be some intriguing possibilities for the Bruins. They could potentially upgrade from the kiddie corps currently earmarked for the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, or they may wait until they can move Tim Thomas' 5 million cap hit toward the end of the summer.

It sounds like the Bruins will be simply content to return with the 19 players that logged minutes and games with last years team, and instead hope for a better result than the first round playoff exit to the Washington Capitals.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON -- Malcolm Subban still believes he can be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that sort of sheer, brazen self-confidence is admirable -- especially after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden Tuesday -- pretty much all the evidence points to the contrary. Given a shot because of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, nearly two years after getting pulled from his only other NHL appearance when he gave up three goals on six shots in St. Louis, Subban was taken out Tuesday night after allowing three goals on eight second-period shots.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone afterwards, a testament to his maturity and mental toughness.

“It sucks," said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one . . . but what can you do now, right?

"Obviously I want to be a No. 1 goaltender in the league. I was a [first-round draft choice] for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it . . . I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts, combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft have proven their worth and advanced to the elite level: Matt Murray. Frederik Anderson. Connor Hellebuyck. Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly Tuesday in his first chance to do so.

Hampered by a Bruins team not playing well in front of him, the first goal he allowed was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third was a softie low and to the glove side, a power-play strike authored by Ryan Suter. Instead of hanging in and giving his team a chance to win, Subban helped put the Bruins in a hole they couldn't escape.

While Claude Julien felt the poor performance "could be a combination" of goaltending and overall defensive lapses, he didn't let Subban off the hook.

“There are some goals -- I’m not going to lie -- there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had," said the coach.

But he also wasn't going to place the blame solely at Subban's feet.

"[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender -- who’s in one of his first few games -- because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide-open shots from the slot -- like the Chris Stewart score in the second period 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal -- are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player (Subban) who should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first-round pick in 2012. Anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after his two Bruins appearances. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first-round bust rather than a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer if Rask can’t make a rapid recovery from his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and, to be fair, the three goals allowed to Minnesota weren't all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that he should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie who'd been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, one who's never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.